Delhi: Ex-RAW chief AS Dulat in an interview to a news channel has made some striking disclosures, one of which is about how the Kandahar hijack was "goofed up".
Dulat revealed that one of the reason for the goof up of the 1999 hijack of the Indian Airlines IC-814 plane was the fact that the authorities could not take a decision as they feared loss of lives.
The former RAW chief, who was a member of the Crisis Management Group handling the operation, said that nobody was willing to say that the plane should not be allowed to leave Amritsar.
So instead of giving out clear instruction to Punjab police, which was incharge on ground there, no one could decide on the action that needed to be taken on immobilising the aircraft.
As the authorities debated on the course of action, the plane flew off from Amritsar airport to Lahore, despite the then Punjab Police chief Sarabjit Singh informing the authorities that he had commandos at his disposal who were trained in anti-terrorism.
In his interview, Dulat emphasised on the lack on decision making which helped the hijackers escape.
The flight IC-814 then flew on to Lahore, Dubai and finally landed in Kandahar.
In another revelation of the 'goof up', he talked about the commando raid that India had mulled once the plane landed in Dubai.
Dulat said that the commando operation was foiled due to the absence of co-operation which prevented anything from taking place at the Dubai airport.
"We tried to prevail on the Americans to put pressure on the UAE to allow us a raid, but India found itself isolated internationally. Nothing seemed to be going our way,” he wrote in his book.
He further revealed that when the negotiations began, the hijacker initially wanted 105 terrorists to be freed.
But a final call to release three militants was taken only on December 30, six days after the hijack.
"It happened on 30th December, finally a call was taken to release three militants. Initially, they wanted 105 then it came down to 35, to 15 and finally our team that had gone to Kandahar managed to bring it down," he said.
He also said two of the three terrorists were in Jammu and Kashmir and then chief minister Farooq Abdullah was angry about letting them go.